Thursday, 30 April 2009

Things I Love About College

1. Friendly, intellectual debates about feminism, America, politics, the moral role of the toy industry, and anything else we can think of.
2. Friends who live just one dorm over, or at the OPPOSITE END OF CAMPUS (a three minute walk)
3. Pizza at 1am
4. The focus of my life is learning. Going to class, absorbing.
5. Intellectual humour. Psych jokes rock!
6. Hilarious, friendly, brilliantly intelligent professors
7. Classes with titles like "theories of feminism" and "psychology of the American Black Woman"
8. Dorms.
9. The dining hall-- someone else cooks for you, AND does the dishes.
10. Clubs, activities, and adventures at your fingertips
11. Guest lecturers (eg Philip Zimbardo!!)
12. Study or paper-writing parties

It is a wonderful, wonderful place.

Monday, 27 April 2009

What a week...

This is been the longest week I have ever experienced.

Monday-- Surgery
Tuesday-- Surgery recovery (aka stuck in bed)
Wednesday-- hall draw, beginning of negotiations for our student theatre group (drama drama)
Thursday-- continuing negotiations for BLT/Druids: settle on outcome after hours of debate (I'll be the general manager! Yay!)
Friday-- phone call from dad, family troubles. BLT/Druids meeting in which our slightly controversial plan is announced. Thank goodness it was accepted
Saturday-- see play at Occidental, Joanna got a call from her mom: Liver/Kidney transplant in the morning. We then stayed up all night with her, so we could drive her to LAX at 5am. The night in the suite was insane. Very weird.
Sunday-- Joanna's mom's transplant. Wobbling through the day on no sleep.

I'm exhausted.

Monday, 20 April 2009

In Which Burt and Cleveland Go Elsewhere

Well, well, well.
The end.

I got up this morning at 6:45 (an ungodly hour for a college student) and got myself ready for The Day. I picked up Jill in front of her dorm, and the two of us drove to the clinic together. We arrived a couple of minutes early, and I signed in. She ate a cookie. I pouted because I wasn't allowed to eat a cookie (or anything else, for that matter). As per usual, I was handed a pager that started buzzing and blinking a while later. (Those blinkers always make me think of PF Chang's, my favourite restaurant ever. Positive association, but I continue to be disappointed that I am not served coconut curry vegetables with tofu when they lead me away.)

I had been told that they were going to do an ultrasound (again) to determine the exact location of the lumps, so they could make the smallest possible incision and remove them easily. I headed in there cheerfully enough, dreading the cold gel but certainly not worried. Then they pulled out.. what was that?

"Wire," Dr. West explained. "It's to mark where the lumps are, so I know where to cut."

WIRE? I was thinking more... Sharpie. You know, something colourful and NOT WIRE. He injected a bit (not enough) of Novacaine, and I winced and whined (I am ashamed to admit) through the wire-insertion procedure. I don't like needles. I don't like needles under the best of circumstances. I'm chipper and chatty when I give blood, and I do give blood regularly, but I never like it. Wire is not a jot better.

Successfully wired, I trembled out to where Jill waited for me, and whined a bit to her too. Oh, the deception! We then headed next door, to where the surgery itself would be performed. We waited in a room that had decorative lamps. Really. There was no way to turn them on, as there were no outlets. Weird.

After a while, I was whisked back, changed into a robe, and had an IV inserted into my hand (more needles!). They gave me ugly grey socks that I think one of the doctors must have stolen from the airplane, and asked me if I had any metal in my body (yes, wire!). They asked me what kind of anesthetic I wanted (general, general, general!) and informed me I was not pregnant (no surprise there). Then Jill came in and kept me company until they took me away.

Then they rolled me away on a bed. I've always kind of wanted to do that. I don't remember a whole lot after that, except being fastened to the surgical table with Velcro straps (what HAPPENED that caused them to make THAT a standard part of operating procedure?), and my arms were outstretched. They pricked me with a needle of something (yes, another needle), put a mask on my face, and--

I woke up in recovery. I felt fine, though exhausted. Jill drove me home, we stopped to fill my prescription for Vicodan, then... well, since then I've been lounging and watching TV shows on my computer, talking to the different people who come to visit, enjoying the flowers and balloons I have so generously been given, and generally feeling shocked that I'm not a) in terrible pain or b) really out of it. I'm only JUST starting to feel the first twinges of pain. If it gets worse I'll take one of my Vicodan, but I'm not there yet.

And that is that. Thank you all for your good wishes, and I hope your weekends have been sunny and fun!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Countdown (and some belated notes on Easter)

Well, it's all scheduled, organised, and written down on my calendar in Sharpie (or would be, if my Sharpie wasn't tempermental-- instead it is on my phone calendar). The Lumps are going to be removed this coming Monday! Everyone keeps saying they are benign-- which I definitely believe-- but it will still be a relief to get rid of them.

Two of my friends-- Joanna and Jill-- are going to be in charge of taking me to and from the clinic, for which I am tremendously appreciative. I have to be there by 8:15, the clinic is an hour away, and we are college students. Like I said, it's generous.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Our college version involved a "Classy Easter Brunch" that featured a bunny cake and homemade biscuits, pomegranete jam, quiche, and strawberries. We played "Where in the World is Carmen Sandi-egg-o?" which was a sort of virtual egg hunt. (Joanna and I were really pleased when we came up with the name for it.)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Senior Year? Really?

Today the registration packets showed up in the dorms. These include a course catalogue, forms to list your chosen classes on, and various other (largely useless) pieces of paper. I'm registering for THREE people this semester, because I'm the proxy for two people abroad. Awesome. We have an excellent registration time, though-- 8:30am on the first day of registration. I don't know if registration starts at 8:00 or 8:30, but either way.

That's not the point, though.

The point is that in a couple of weeks I will be registering for senior year. When did this happen? I'm ok with being a junior, that all made sense. But being a senior? I don't know. I feel like it snuck up on me. This will be my last year at college, the last before the Real World.

I know that 21 isn't old, I know that being a senior in college is still really young in the grand scheme of my life, but... It's still time to start making some adult choices, choices that will impact the rest of my life. If I end up with a career I don't like, I can make the effort and take the initiative to change, I'm not afraid of that. But those months will still contribute to how I see the world, how I begin my fully-out-of-school-and-working life. Maybe I'll go to grad school. Maybe I won't. I'd like to do Teach for America.

I'm excited for senior year-- which will be, by all counts, amazing-- but it's frightening how quickly it's come. I gave a tour to some high school students today, who are considering going to my college. I don't think it was really that long ago that I was in their shoes, weighing the pros and cons of different colleges.

It wasn't that long ago, that's the thing. It really wasn't. A lot happens in four years.

Friday, 10 April 2009


It is with great relief that I announce Burt, Cleveland, and I will go our separate ways. I had an appointment a while ago with a doctor who recommended that I get a biopsy, which was scheduled for today. After a few days, though, I decided that I would just sooner have this all dealt with and move on.

I called the office and asked if it was reasonable to just get the lumps removed instead. "Oh, sure!" chirped Dr. West's assistant, Gina. "No, that shouldn't be a big deal at all... let me just talk to Dr. West and get some paperwork filled out, and we'll call you back in a couple of days!"

On Thursday (yesterday), Becky called from "surgical scheduling." She scheduled me for a pre-op appointment on Tuesday and surgery itself next Monday.

And then? Then? THEN the lumps will be gone and I will be free to focus on other things.

Which is exactly how I would like it.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


My school, like most others, is ridden with stereotypes. We're all, in case you were wondering, rich-lesbian-feminist-daddy's girl-sluts. Obviously this is not true, for the most part. We are not all rich. We are not all lesbians. We are not all daddy's girls, and we are most certainly not all sluts.

I think it is true that we are all feminists.

That is the environment around our school. We question the stereotypes, raise our eyebrows at the way women continue to be limited in their opportunities, demand choices. I am a feminist, and I am a very proud one at that.

I know people, not at College but elsewhere, who do not admit to being feminist. They think that the instant they declare themselves A Feminist, they will have to pack away their bras (if not burn them), hate men, and strive for a top position in a company even if they would really rather be a stay at home mom who bakes cookies. Men balk at the idea of identifying as feminists because, well, they're men. How does it include them?

Feminism isn't about thinking women are superior, or that each woman should force her way into a male-dominated career path.

I don't care whether you, as a woman, choose to become a firefighter, CEO, nurse, teacher, engineer, or stay at home mom. I care that you have the choice.

I don't care if you wear sundresses and high heals or combat boots and cargo pants as long as it is a decision you have made for yourself. I don't care, because it is your choice.

I care that you have the opportunity to do what you believe in, not because it is what a woman does or doesn't do, but because it is what you do.

I care that men feel they have the same opportunities as women to be involved parents, caring teachers, respected nurturers.

I just want us to be aware of the prejudices we have, and that we make decisions about our lives in a thoughtful fashion.

College has almost certainly been a part of my evolution into a feminist, and I am so grateful for it. I still want to be an elementary school teacher some day, I still want to have children, I still love my job as a nanny.

But no one can tell me these are things I must do-- or may do-- because of my sex.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Another Moment for Poetry

This poem just makes me chuckle--

by D.H. Lawrence

A lizard ran out on a rock and looked up, listening
no doubt to the sounding of the spheres.
And what a dandy fellow! the right toss of a chin for you
And swirl of a tail!

If men were as much men as lizards are lizards
they'd be worth looking at.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Why Yes, It IS Spring!

I know there are parts of the country that are still chilly, drizzly, and even snowy. I'm awfully sorry for you, because I am head-over-heels in love with Spring here!

This is the dorm where I live:
Outside of this dorm we have a rose garden. Students are expected and encouraged to gather bouquets of roses. It's not QUITE in full bloom, but I anticipate it will be in the next few days. I will be sure to post an update photograph. Right now you can see the flowers...
But they're best if you get up close and really stick your nose in them. Mind the thorns!
This fuzzy thing is one cool-lookin' flower. They grow on a MASSIVE bush right outside the main entrance to my dorm.
The lilacs are working on blooming, and they already smell incredible. Once they are full blossomed, walking into my dorm is truly an olfactory sensation to be savoured.

Not to be overlooked when one is discussing oflactory sensations: the orange trees. The smell of the blossoms is to die for.

Not to mention they are really pretty...

I didn't even discover these pretty little flowers until I started taking pictures of lots of the flora on campus to share with you all. Aren't they sweet?

I wish I could have made this entry scratch-and-sniff for you, but let me assure you: Life on this campus smells incredible these days!